Funding

At the same time the House goes to the floor today to pass its version of the State-Foreign Operations spending bill (in which educational and cultural exchanges are funded at $600 million, $33 million less than the Obama administration’s request but a $62 million increase over current levels), the Senate Appropriations Committee will begin work on its own State-Foreign Operations bill. Senators will seek to increase funding for diplomacy and the Foreign Service, “even as overall funding for foreign affairs takes a hit,” reports CQ.com:

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The below action alert was circulated by the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign. Please take a few minutes to visit USGLC’s website and submit a letter supporting full funding for the House FY 2010 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which includes a request of $600 million for State Department educational and cultural exchange programs. This bill will be considered on the House floor by the end of the week.

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The Alliance reported last week on HR 2985, a bill introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) to establish a “public diplomacy international exchange program to be known as the Ambassador's Fund for Strategic Exchanges.” The full text of this bill, introduced in the House on June 19, is now available and pasted in full below, as well as accessible on Govtrack.

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Eight former U.S. Secretaries of State jointly penned an op-ed in yesterday’s Politico calling for a drastic increase in U.S. global engagement:

We, former secretaries of state of different administrations and different political parties, and with differing views on many other issues, are nevertheless of one mind on this issue of critical importance to our country’s national security. We call on Congress to act accordingly and fund this critical need.

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In a brief profile published today, CQ.com noted the strong support State and Foreign Operations subcommittee chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) has long shown for diplomacy and foreign aid:

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The House Appropriations State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee approved by voice vote this morning its FY 2010 draft spending bill. The measure would provide $600 million for State Department educational and cultural exchange programs, $62 million above the FY 2009 level but $33 million below the President’s FY 2010 request.

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By a vote of 235-187, the House passed yesterday a bill (HR 2410) to reauthorize funding for the State Department, as well as U.N. dues and other diplomatic programs. [Full text of the bill is available on GovTrack.]

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The House Appropriations Committee moved forward in the FY 2010 funding process today, reported the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign in its International Affairs Budget Update:

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The State Department and other diplomatic agencies would be authorized to receive approximately $18 billion in FY 2010 under legislation approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 20, CQ.com reports.

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The establishment of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation, a strong authorization for State Department educational and cultural exchange programs, strengthening the Foreign Service, and expanding the Peace Corps are key components of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (H.R. 2410) introduced yesterday by Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This two-year authorization bill is meant to “shore up” U.S. diplomacy and development efforts for the future.

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